LC Paper No. LS1/99-00
Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Legislative Council
on 15 October 1999
Legal Service Division Report on
Legal Aid (Amendment) Bill 1999
Object of the Bill
To implement some of the final recommendations of the Legal Aid Policy Review 1997.
LegCo Brief Reference
2. CSO/ADM CR 5/3231/99 issued by the Administration Wing, Chief Secretary for Administration's Office in September 1999.
Date of First Reading
3. 13 October 1999.
4. As proposed by the Bill, three of the final recommendations made by the Administration following the Legal Aid Policy Review 1997 will be implemented as follows -
- death inquests are to be added to the description of proceedings for which legal aid may be given so as to benefit the family of the deceased person concerned;
- a person granted legal aid under the Supplementary Legal Aid Scheme is to be required to pay an interim contribution regardless of the outcome of the case; and
- interest on a charge on preserved or recovered property which is to be used as a home for the aided person or his dependants is to be waived in whole or in part if the payment would cause serious hardship to the aided person or if it is in all the circumstances just and equitable to do so.
5. According to the LegCo Brief, the rest of the final recommendations that require legislative amendments will be implemented separately through amendments to the Legal Aid Regulations and Legal Aid (Assessment of Resources and Contribution) Regulations. However, to enable one of these other recommendations to be effected through subsidiary legislation, the Bill has also proposed to widen the delegated power of making subsidiary legislation to include the making of provisions as to how the resources of a person receiving assistance under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme administered by the Director of Social Welfare are to be treated for the purposes of determining the resources of that person.
6. Apart from these substantive proposals, the Bill also takes the opportunity to make some minor technical amendments which involve no policy change.
7. A public consultation exercise has been conducted and the Legal Aid Services Council, according to the LegCo Brief, has endorsed the final recommendations.
Consultation with LegCo Panel
8. The Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services has been consulted and discussed the Administration's recommendations at its meetings on 15 September and 15 December 1998 and 25 February 1999 before they were finalised. The final recommendations and an advance copy of the draft Bill were subsequently circulated to Members vide LC Paper No. CB(2)2585/98-99.
9. Members may wish to consider whether the Bill should be looked at in detail despite the prior consultations.
10. The drafting of the Bill is in order.
CHEUNG Ping-Kam, Arthur
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
11 October 1999